U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN-08), a member of the House Financial Services Committee introduced the Securing Access to Affordable Mortgage Act of 2017 (H.R. 3221). This legislation would ease the unfair appraisal requirements that are hurting rural communities and would assist hopeful home buyers by decreasing costs and delays during the process of obtaining a mortgage.
"Buying and owning a home is central to the American Dream," said Kustoff. "Unfortunately for many first-time home buyers, it is more challenging than ever to access the money necessary to reach this important milestone. The Securing Access to Affordable Mortgage Act of 2017 will undo burdensome regulations and level the playing field for those in hopes of buying a home, particularly in our rural communities."
Kustoff added: "The primary cause of this problem is that many rural communities lack the adequate number of qualified appraisers. Under current standards, the costs associated with an appraisal on a small real estate loan are disproportionately high for the property's purchase price. Community banks, credit unions and other small financial institutions are strained by these regulations and forced to bring in outside appraisers who have little to no knowledge of the rural areas they are hired to assess."
In a Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee hearing yesterday, Kustoff asked two witnesses, the president of a rural community bank and the president of a rural credit union, about how the current appraisal standards affect their ability to serve their communities. The committee discussed solutions to reduce the regulatory burdens on community financial institutions. Watch their testimony here.
The Securing Access to Affordable Mortgage Act of 2017 amends the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 and the Truth in lending Act to exempt mortgage loans of $250,000 or less from property appraisal requirements. This bill is also included in the Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory Relief (CLEARR) Act, legislation that would provide regulatory relief to community financial institutions and help consumers access credit.